Moving Schools: Making Things Easier for Your ChildPosted on 22 May, 2017 in
Photo Credit: Aidan Meyer
Moving homes can be an incredibly stressful time. From handling all of the planning and logistics, to dealing with the physical strain of packing and moving your belongings, most adults find moving to be one of the more stressful of all life events. There are plenty of resources to help you with the logistical side of moving; however, what people often take for granted is how much strain moving can put on children.
Changing schools can be especially difficult for kids. They must learn new school traditions, get to know new teachers, and completely shift their social circle. It can be tough, but making a move doesn’t have to be traumatic. Here are plenty of things parents can do to help make changing schools as easy as possible on their children.
Talk to Your Children and Let Them Talk, Too
Schools are more than just a place to learn these days. Most schools, especially the good ones, engage your children at many levels. This means your child has a lot of energy invested in that school. Moving schools disrupts that, but here's what you can do:
- Give Them Time: Allow your child plenty of time to adjust to this idea by communicating the situation to them early and keeping that communication open as the move progresses.
- Answer All Their Questions: Make sure they understand what is happening and always be willing to answer any questions they might have.
- Make Them Feel Comfortable: If they don’t ask questions, encourage them to do so. Make their upcoming transition a comfortable topic of conversation.
Spread Your Enthusiasm to Your Child
While communication about the change is great, not all communication is helpful. Try to keep your conversations about the move on a positive note. This doesn’t mean you should prevent your children from airing their concerns or being sad, but be enthusiastic about the new experiences and opportunities ahead. Even if the move is occurring for reasons that aren’t necessarily positive, try to keep your focus on the good things ahead.
Give Your Children Some Control
Sometimes, as a child, it can feel like the world is completely out of control, and that is scary. Try to make it a little less frightful for your kids by giving them lots of opportunities for autonomy. Here's how:
- Provide Choices: Wherever possible, give the children the chance to make choices on their own. For example, if moving to an entirely new city and choosing between suburbs, allow the child to give an opinion about which school district they like better.
- Be Flexible: If that isn’t possible, find other ways to allow them choice. Perhaps they can get excited about choosing a new class schedule.
- Be Creative: It is not possible to let your children run the show, but, at the least, allow them to choose a new tradition or some new school accessories.
Make It an Adventure
It can be intimidating to adjust to a new school. Try to make it an adventure. Especially with younger kids, this can be an adventure you should do together. For example:
- Get excited about finding new places in the school.
- Make a list of the things that might be interesting.
- Play new school bingo.
There are hundreds of ways to make this new experience into a game or adventure.
Take Care of the Logistics Ahead of Time
New schools are stressful. An unfamiliar school where nothing goes smoothly is even more stressful. Use these steps to make sure your child experiences the smoothest transition possible:
- Talk to the teachers and principal beforehand.
- Make sure you understand everything you will need to bring for enrolment.
- Create a portfolio of your child’s work.
- If there is a school uniform, arrange to have every piece of it ready for the first day.
- Find out how lunch works and take care that your child is all set for meals at school.
- Learn the bus system, if applicable, and help your child use it successfully.
Ultimately, children are resilient and yours will likely adjust pretty quickly to their new school. In conclusion, having open communication, enthusiasm, a sense of adventure and plenty of organisation will go a long way toward making the transition successful.